My Interview on Stossel’s Show on Free Trade (= Prosperity and Peace)

The Opening Segment of John Stossel’s Show on Free Trade

Other segments included trade obstructionist Lou Dobbs, Kenyan entrepreneur, lawyer, and documentary maker June Arunga and Swedish writer Johan Norberg, and a wrap-up (including me).

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8 Responses to “My Interview on Stossel’s Show on Free Trade (= Prosperity and Peace)”

  1. Tatiana

    Dear Tom, can’t stay indifferent! When u pointed to Lou Dobbs that he doesn’t understand the difference between budget deficit and trade deficit – i was so so happy! and he acknowledged his ignorance! Thank you for doing it!!!Amazing!

  2. Congrats Monsieur Palmer,
    But just one comment, no one pointed to Lou Dobbs, when he tried to give a definition of the Free Trade, and said that it’s a trading relationship in wich “both States”… No mister Dobbs , States don’t exchange, States don’t trade … but as Bastiat pointed it : Individus Trade and Exchange ! That’s all , but it was very good !

  3. I’m not sure to which agreements you refer, Boris. Which “Free Trade Agreements” actually lead to a loss in individual liberty and market freedoms? Surely free trade need not be the result of an “agreement” and many such “Free Trade Agreements” merely result in “freer” trade, rather than in free trade simpliciter, but which ones do you object to and what is your evidence that they actually lead to a loss in individual liberty and market freedoms?

  4. My principal example of this is the European Community.

    Here’s the issue with a multilateral or bilateral trade agreement:

    To have a trade agreement it is not enough to cut tariffs. It is possible member states may decide to ‘cheat’ by subsidizing a trade good or imposing regulations that make it difficult for a foreign trade good to compete (an example: there was a time that Israel’s regulators imposed a size standard on ketchup bottles – just happening to be the size that a given company was producing, and of course importers were not capable of setting up a separate bottling line just for us). You and I realize the country that does this is only cheating their own people, but many people, including many world leaders, do not.

    So what needs to be done is uniformity in regulations, to ensure nobody ends up “cheated” . And remember, to these people, you having an economy too unregulated is also a form of unfair advantage. And then the answer is to have an abjudicator that will either decide that a given regulation is “cheating” by stealth, like the WTO does, or impose a centralized regulator, like the EU Parliament does – as you know full well, the EP is a final product of an evolution beginning with a trade agreement.

    As a result of this, Congress is now subsidizing Brazilian farmers to avoid cutting subsidies to its own farmers. In Europe, the EP is the source of up to 85% of all new regulations. This is a major issue and libertarians fear to confront it head-on because they don’t want to appear to be anti-trade.

  5. Tom Palmer

    I know of no European libertarians who are afraid to criticize the European Union. Quite the contrary.

    The WTO does not, to my knowledge, ever issue judgements that a country’s trade was “too free,” only that a government took action (subsidies or non-tariff trade barriers, for example) that hindered trade or created special privileges for some in violation of treaty obligations.

    I don’t follow your point regarding Brazilian farmers. Is the US Congress subsidizing Brazilian farmers? In what ways? (I believe that the US government restricts U.S. consumers from purchasing Brazilian ethanol to meet the nutty U.S.-imposed ethanol fuel standards: . I don’t follow this issue all that carefully, so I’d appreciate any enlightenment.

  6. >I don’t follow your point regarding Brazilian farmers. Is the US Congress >subsidizing Brazilian farmers? In what ways?

    I remember reading that one of the trade organizations the US is in ruled that US farm subsidies constituted a trade barrier unless the US also subsidized the specific form of farming that was at issue in the case – in other countries in Latin America. And that supposedly a large sum of money (well, not government-large) was being transferred for this purpose.

    Is this not true? I can’t find the reference, so I will have to concede the issue until I do.

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